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3 Responses to Helping Toddler Be Gentle with Babies

  1. TopHat  

    One thing I have emphasized in teaching my daughter to be soft with her brother is that the rules for being soft with him are the rules for being soft with everyone. I’ll pat him gently and say, “We are soft with the baby,” turn and pat myself, “We are soft with Mommy,” turn and pat her, “we are soft with you.” I do this to help her feel included and that we all live with the same rules and that the baby isn’t an exception: we are all fair.

  2. Acrophile

    We taught our first DD some signs when she was about 7 months old. “Gentle” was the BEST SIGN EVER! It *is* what it says. The sign is done by gently stroking the back of one hand, from fingers to wrist, with the fingertips of the other. If you use your child’s hand to do the sign (as many books recommend) you will be teaching him what ‘gentle’ *is*, not just a word. He will see how it feels, and you can remind him, by taking his hands and saying “Gentle” as you do the sign. Later, after he really learns it, you can remind him by saying “Show me the sign for ‘gentle’. Now remember to be gentle with the baby.” This worked very very well with our older daughter toward our younger one, and with both toward our cats. I often tell people “If you only teach your baby one sign, teach them ‘gentle’.” There’s no clearer way to teach the concept, IMO.

  3. pocketbuddha  

    I’ve been struggling with my 15mo. He’s honestly not THAT rambunctious really. But he does have a habit of throwing toys and yanking my glasses off my face. I find myself repeating ‘gentle gentlt gentle!’ all the time and it just didn’t feel right that I should be. I feel like I am nagging him. I don’t ever roughhouse with him really, it’s not my style & we prefer to do other physical things like running, jumping, and dancing.

    It never occurred to me until reading this that he does occasionally NEED to blow of some steam and rough housing with him isn’t going to teach him aggression like I’d though, but rather teach him boundaries and explore his own power.

    Thank you for making me think about my approach, maybe his occasional aggressive actions (which were confusing me because they were rarely if ever about anger or frustration) are his way of telling me that our play times are missing a little bit of friendly wrestling.